1. Companies Limited by Shares

Article 7 of Law 2339/1995, which has amended Law 2190/1920 "On Companies Limited by Shares", provides that the payment in cash required for the increase of the share capital of a company limited by shares, likely increases thereof, as well as deposits made by shareholders and concerning their participation in any future capital increase shall be effected mandatorily by means of a deposit in a bank account in the name of the company. In such a case the banks must indicate on the particulars issued to this end the full name and surname of the shareholder/depositor as well as any other particular deemed necessary for the facilitation of the companies and the Services of the Ministry of Trade involved. It is anticipated that quarrels during the audits undertaken by the competent public services for the ascertainment of payment of the amounts required by the law shall be thereby eliminated.

2. Insurance Legislation

By virtue of a bill introduced in Parliament for endorsement insurance legislation is harmonised with the relevant EU Directive Nos 371/1991, 674/1991, 49/1992, 96/1992.

The major amendments are as follows:

- Issues related to the suitability control (honesty, qualifications, professional experience) of shareholders and members of the board as well as the powers of actuaries and the persons responsible for technical reserves and solvency margin are regulated
- Issues pertaining to the choice of law, the competence of the Greek courts, the information available and the use of the Greek language are also detailed
- Issues concerning the introduction of technical reserves, modern supervision techniques necessary for the adequacy control n the formation of technical reserves and the identification of investments covering same are clarified
- Institutions such as the short-term financing programme, the restructuring programme, the nearly complete diffusion and differentiation in investments related to technical reserves are reinforced
- Institutions such as the home country control and the uniform licence are introduced. To this end the bill provides for the closer cooperation of supervisory authorities of member states aimed at the free provision of services and establishment, whereas on the spot control of subsidiaries is established in cases of investments made by the subsidiary in order to cover technical reserves of the mother company
- Liberalisation measures are laid down in the bill such as liberalisation in the premiums for risks insured, provisions of services, establishment and access to other markets, whereas new products are introduced such as continuous health insurance and life insurance connected with investments
- Modern money and credit means negotiable in the money and financial markets of EU member states are introduced
- Residential real estate may henceforth be insured in accordance with the requirements specified in the law
- Investment in securities of unlisted companies is effected following a decision of the Minister of Commerce, provided that the interested company files an application to this effect accompanied with a feasibility and viability study for the investment at issue
- Demergers or mergers of insurance companies established in Greece are approved by means of a decision of the Minister of Commerce, provided that the interested company files an application to this effect accompanied with a feasibility and viability study for the investment at issue.

3. Personal Detention

By virtue of Article 11 of the bill concerning the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights the measure of personal detention for commercial debts is abolished, thereby rendering ineffective Article 1047 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The draft article in question provides that "Nobody is imprisoned exclusively due to his inability for the fulfilment of a contractual obligation". However it must be made clear that the provision in question does not rule out imprisonment for debts owed to the State and legal persons of public law as well as for the issuance of bounced cheques.

The contents of this article are intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought for your specific circumstances.